I used the shareware Paintshop 3, then got into PaintShop Pro 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, X4. I had a pattern going until the last. PSP 7 is the best balance of ease of control and actually being able to paint with pixels, IMO.
Photoshop Elements 10 is faster, but I like PSP's controls better. Can't seem to stray too far.
Core i7 4770k 4.3GHz Vcore 1.19v, HT enabled
Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD4H f7
2x4GB Low Profile Crucial Ballistix DDR3-1600 9-9-9-24@1600MHz Vdimm 1.5v
Armageddon with 2 Noctua NF-A15's
Intel 4600 graphics using 1GB system memory
Samsung 840 Pro 512GB OS drive
WD Black 4TB file drive, WD Red 3TB backup
Seasonic X-750 (on hand, and thus free) in CM N600 case